As NewsOn6.com's Nicole Wiseman reports, Mommies Enduring Neonatal Death, or M.E.N.D., is helping parents heal during the most difficult time in their lives.
M.E.N.D. is a national organization. The only Oklahoma-based chapter opened last month in Green Country. If you or someone you know has ever experienced the loss of a child to miscarriage, stillbirth or infant death, then you might consider attending these free meetings.
M.E.N.D. Director Michele Wilson, says parents who experience this kind of tragedy are sometimes inclined to suppress their emotions.
She says it's hard to heal when no one around you, can really understand the death of a child, and the loss of a dream that goes with it.
But, M.E.N.D. is a support group and everyone involved has experienced a very personal loss of their own.
"The people that understand this kind of grief are the people that have walked that road and have been there," said Michele Wilson, Director, M.E.N.D.- Tulsa.
Wilson says the M.E.N.D. meetings give parents the support they need and help them understand their right to grieve.
Nicholas, Erika, and little Rafael Huff are a picture-perfect family, each smiling and happy. You would never know that tremendous tragedy has shaken their lives.
"You're so excited about this child that you're soon to give birth to and everything goes bad, very quickly," said Nicholas Huff, M.E.N.D member.
Rafael isn't the couple's only child. Nearly three years ago, Erika's water broke only half-way through her first pregnancy. She and Nicholas rushed to the hospital, and due to complications where told the baby wouldn't make it.
"We were actually monitoring the heart rate and so we had to see his heart rate all the time getting softer and softer. But, they said there's nothing we could do," said Nicholas.
After two days of watching him slowly slip away, On August 27th 2005, Baby Isaac's heart stopped beating.
"You always think of a birth as a joyous experience and you never imagine that you'll deliver a baby and the baby won't be alive," said Erika.
But, the heartache didn't end there. The couple would have three more miscarriages.
"It's just like any other grieving process of any other loved one. You have good days and you have bad days. You have things that remind you of times," said Nicholas.
Through it all, Erika and Nicholas always knew they wanted to adopt someday.
Nine months later, Rafael has joined their family, forever changing their lives. Rafael means God has healed. That's how they couple picked his name They say the little guy truly has healed their hearts.
Now, as the proud parents spend time with their 10-month-old boy, the bond this family shares is unbreakable.
"Going through this situation, not that you couldn't cherish a child, but it does give you a little deeper feeling of truly how much of a blessing it is to have a child and how important they are," said Nicholas.
Regular M.E.N.D. Meetings:
Held the 3rd Tuesday of every month from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m.
Support Group Location:
1651 E. Old North Road
Sand Springs, OK 74063
Exit N. 81st West Ave. off of Highway 412/64. Go north one mile. Canyon Crossing is on the NW corner at the stop sign.
For More Information on M.E.N.D:
Contact Michele Wilson
PO Box 283
Owasso, OK 74055
By Nicole Wiseman, NewsOn6.com and Kyle Dierking, Video Journalist.